The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Paralympic Order, the highest accolade anyone connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve, is to be awarded to four people who have served the Movement with distinction. The recipients are:
- Paul Bird, Australia - Paralympian and administrator with 40 years’ experience. President of Oceania Paralympic Committee since 2006.
- Rita van Driel, Netherlands – Coach and administrator. IPC Governing Board Member at Large since 2009.
- Greg Nugent, Great Britain – London 2012 Paralympic Games marketer and filmmaker behind the Paralympic documentary Rising Phoenix.
- Yasushi Yamawaki, Japan - Vice President, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. IPC Governing Board Member at Large since 2013.
The Paralympic Order honours someone who has exemplified the Paralympic ideals through their actions, made remarkable strides in Paralympic sport or rendered outstanding services the Paralympic cause.
The Orders were announced on Saturday 11 December at the 2021 IPC General Assembly, which took place virtually this weekend. The Orders will be presented to each of the recipients at the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “With the Paralympic Order this year we pay homage to four people who the Paralympic Movement is indebted to. Paul Bird and Rita van Driel are both educationists, and their tireless volunteering work has ensured that thousands of Para athletes have had opportunities to excel in sport, while the impact of their technical expertise will be felt for generations to come.
“Thanks to his work on London 2012 and with the amazing Rising Phoenix, Greg Nugent took the Paralympic Movement and our athletes to invaluable new audiences. And Yasushi Yamawaki’s adept negotiation skills helped ensure that the most important Paralympic Games in history took place when many doubted it was possible.
“The Paralympic Order is reserved for those who have gone above and beyond for the Paralympic Movement, and these four individuals have certainly done that.”